The Hasbrouck Heights Flood of 1995

November 1, 2012

This week has brought horrific images from the shores of New York, New Jersey and other places along the Eastern seaboard of the United States. It is hard to imagine what it will take for those areas to rebuild and I hope residents can find a way back to something even remotely normal very quickly. In my travels, I have been to some of the hardest hit areas and it is hard to imagine it is the same location I’ve seen on television this week. I certainly encourage everyone to donate whatever you can to the Red Cross to help those in need.

Today I wanted to share my own flood story from New Jersey. When it happened, it was a pretty darned bad day. Now I can look back and laugh at the craziness. I don’t think there is anything to learn from that crazy day, but hopefully you’ll get a smile or chuckle from the story.

It was 1995 and we had scheduled a one-day CorelDRAW seminar at a hotel in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. For those not too familiar with the area, it isn’t far from New York City. When I checked into the hotel the night before, I was told some renovations were in process. My guest room had a few things under construction, but it wasn’t a big deal for the short amount of time I would spend awake in the room.

The usual routine was to set up the seminar room at night so there wasn’t as much work to do in the morning. Often the room was an unknown and I remember having a really nice sized ballroom in the basement of the hotel that would be the perfect venue for a day of learning.

Everything went well during the morning of the seminar and we took a lunch break. After lunch, the learning began again. Before long, there was a fairly loud noise outside the ballroom. The main water line in the hotel had broken and water was gushing into the basement. Uh oh, now what!

It wasn’t long before the back of the room had at least 2-3 inches of water on the floor. This was bad since the only way to the restroom was through the water. Plus there were snacks and beverages on a table at the back of the room. Lucky for me, the front of the room was dry. I just felt horrible for all the seminar attendees and I knew it was completely out of my control.

Luckily the water was able to be stopped and it didn’t get any worse. It was summer (and really hot outside), so maybe the cold water felt good to those who got their feet wet. A few hours later I was on a flight headed on to the next stop of the seminar tour. Thinking back on that day, I’m not even sure it was the craziest hotel story I encountered.

By chance, were you at the seminar? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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